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John Ball's Geni Profile

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John Ball

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Nathaniel Ball and Sarah Ball

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Ball

John Ball (November 12, 1794 – February 5, 1884) was born at Tenny Hill, Hebron, Grafton County, New Hampshire. He had a common school education and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1820. He studied law two years at Lansingburgh, New York and then went to Darien, Georgia where he was shipwrecked and taught school for the winter 1822–23 to earn his passage back to New York. Hew was admitted to the bar in 1824.

As a member of Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth's first expedition, in 1832 he traveled to the Oregon Country.[1] While overwintering at Fort Vancouver from 1832–1833, he was employed by John McLoughlin to teach the children of the fort, thus becoming the Oregon's first schoolteacher.[1] In the spring of 1833, using seeds and tools supplied by McLoughlin, Ball and a friend traveled to the Salem, Oregon area and planted, raised and harvested a wheat crop, making him the first European to farm in the region.[1] He returned via the Sandwich Islands and Cape Horn in 1833-34. In 1837 he settled at Grand Rapids, Michigan, and represented eastern capitalists in locating lands during the "wildcat banking" era. He also opened a law office and partnered with, among others, the Hon. George Martin, formerly Chief Justice of Michigan and Solomon Lewis Withey, late United States District Judge.

In 1842 he was appointed by Governor John Barry to select 300,000 acres (1,200 km²) of the 500,000 acres (2,000 km²) of land granted to Michigan by Congress for internal improvements. These were mainly selected about Grand Rapids and were mostly taken up with internal improvement warrants, and as these warrants could be bought for about forty cents on the dollar, it resulted in a speedy settlement of the Grand River Valley. Mr. Ball was largely identified with Grand Rapids interests. He was interested in schools, geology, lyceums and all local enterprises; he provided the first written account of the geology of Oregon.

In politics he was a conservative Democrat and served in the Michigan State Legislature.

He donated the land in Grand Rapids, Michigan that is now John Ball Park and John Ball Zoo.

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John Ball's Timeline

Age 90